Traffic police and district authorities appeared helpless as transporters continued to fleece the commuters who thronged bus terminals on Monday to travel to their hometowns for Eid.
Rawalpindi district administration had claimed to have formed special teams to check overcharging by public transporters but failed to have an impact on the ground.
“We have challaned so many transporters, but they don’t give up,” said Riaz Ahmad, a warden of the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) at Faizabad.
Commuters at Faizabad, Pirwadhai, Peshawar Morr and Mandi Morr bus terminals complained that there was nobody to check overcharging by the public transport vehicles.
Rawalpindi District Regional Transport Authority (DRTA) Secretary Owais Manzoor Tarar, however, claimed that the DRTA teams are regularly monitoring and imposing fines on the violators. He said the traffic wardens are retrieving and giving the excess money back to the passengers.
“They are charging Rs500 for Peshawar today, which usually costs around Rs250,” said Sajjad Khan, who was haggling with a transporter over the fare. Similarly, travel by bus from Rawalpindi to Mardan costs Rs200 but on Sunday the buses charged Rs400 per head.
“The transporters have increased the fare by 100 per cent,” complained Muhammad Afzal who was waiting for a van to Jhelum with his family.
“We paid Rs200 to Jhelum, but today they are demanding Rs400 to Rs500 per passenger. The administration has completely failed to check the violations.”
Most of the people, however, were willing to pay extra fares in a race to get a seat on the bus. Contacted, ITP Superintendent Asmatullah Khan Junejo said though monitoring transport fares is not ITP’s responsibility, the traffic police have set up a special teams called ‘Mujahid Squad’ to check overcharging and route violations by public transporters.
Similarly, the National Highways and Motorway Police (NHMP) also claimed to be checking overcharging and passenger overloading by public transporters.
“I have fined 40 public transport vehicles and confiscated 10 for overcharging and overloading,” said NHMP Inspector Muhammad Rafique, who was on duty at the Islamabad Toll Plaza. We have also returned the overcharged money back to passengers on the spot, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2014.